For most people, January 1 is a day to turn over a new leaf and reflect on how to improve in the new year. For accountants, January 1 is often a dreaded day because it marks the beginning of tax season. It’s the start of 12+ hour days, weekends stuck at the office, and missed time with friends and family due to the pressing workload. But we’re here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be that way. If you start now, you can make meaningful changes in your workflows to prepare for the extra stress in the tax season ahead. One of the areas where you can make the biggest improvement is with your accounting practice management software.
Practice management software offers simple yet powerful solutions to reduce non-billable hours and do important work for your clients faster. Read on for Mango Practice Management’s tips for ways to use your software.
Optimize your practice with streamlined workflows and better time management
Before you start the tax season, look at your current workflows to see where there may be redundancy or unnecessary blocks. Perhaps your staff is performing a task that could be supported by practice management software, like printing invoices for review instead of proofing them for errors in a preview.
Action item: Make a list of all the workflows you use and where you could streamline processes before your workload doubles—or even triples—in the first quarter of the new year.
To boost productivity, encourage your team to spend 10-12 minutes each morning planning out their day. This step can save two hours that would otherwise have been wasted. Use calendar software that integrates with practice management software to block out their days in advance. Create a calendar event for each task that needs to be done and mark how long it will take. This way, team members have a visual reminder of what they should be working on and when.
Action item: To help your team out, use task management software to assign them work with due dates, so they know what they need to complete first.
During your workday, meetings, emails, and phone calls can all serve as disruptions to completing the critical documents that need to be delivered during tax season. These interruptions can cost a company a whopping 6.2 hours a day of wasted time. Set aside certain days a week just for meetings (like Tuesday/Thursday), and save the other three work days to focus on the tax documents that need to be done. Do the same thing with phone calls and emails: return calls and only check your email at a certain time in the morning and evening.
Action item: Using a client portal can eliminate unnecessary, time-consuming email back-and-forth. What’s more, it creates a better client experience because your firm’s clients can have access to all their documents in one place!
Practice management software to manage client needs and documents
Communicate clearly with clients about when they can reach you during tax season. You may have many short-term clients who need your attention, but you can’t neglect the clients who use your services year-round. Send out an email to all your clients stating your “office hours” when they can reach you on the phone.
Document management software
Checking paper documents with tax returns wastes time and resources. If you have paper filing cabinets, you can waste minutes trying to find a client’s 1099 or a Schedule K-1 that wasn’t filed properly.
Action item: Check your work using document management software. These digital systems allow you to cut out time-consuming, unnecessary tasks like printing a tax return or binding the return together.
Instead, you can send documents via secure file sharing in seconds and move on with the rest of your workday.
Utilize a client portal
Another great tool for managing client needs is a client portal (see above!). Upload all documents relevant to clients’ tax returns so they can find the answers to questions as they come up. Most portals offer unlimited storage, so you and your clients can upload as many documents as needed.
your clients can also access the portal on their smartphone. They don’t even need to access Wi-Fi to find the answers to their questions.
Delegate tasks with project management
Nothing sets a project back faster than miscommunication: 28% of employees say that miscommunication is the main reason they’re unable to deliver work on time. If your team doesn’t understand what part of the return they need to fill out, and what steps you expect them to take, you’ll be adding hours to an already hectic week.
Action item: Use project management software to keep everyone on the same page. The main dashboard allows employees to check in on the status of their project and what work still needs to be completed.
To save time with delegation, create task templates for each type of project that your firm completes (for example, a tax return). Every time you have a new client, you can auto-populate the tasks with a template. Then, all you have to do is assign them to the relevant team members and you’re ready to go. No more unnecessary emails or meetings to onboard a new client.
Another critical tool to help your team is to include due dates in all the tasks. This helps them save time when planning their day because the tasks that need to be done first will be listed first in the dashboard.
Track time to figure out profitable pricing and budgets for projects
During tax season, it’s critical to understand exactly how much work you need to do to stay profitable. But with many accountants at risk of burnout, you don’t want to take on so much work that one of your team members quits unexpectedly.
Action item: Before the new season begins, implement time-tracking software to log each minute that your team works. Use this data to understand exactly how long each type of project your accounting firm completes takes.
Then, you can create a billing structure that’s profitable for your firm and fair to your clients. These can make the appropriate staffing decisions so your team isn’t overworked.
Eliminate tax season headaches with Mango Practice Management
You may have tax software you know and love, but does your practice management software inspire the same feelings? If you’re struggling to stay on top of tasks, manage your team’s work.
By doing this you can keep client work organized. this could be time to switch to a better product.
Mango was made by accountants, so we know the tools you need to speed up workflows and make life simpler.
Our all-in-one practice management software includes:
- Project management software
- Document management software
- Secure file-sharing and eSignature
- Time tracking and billing software
- Online payments
- And more
To learn how Mango can help make your life easier during the 2023 tax season, schedule a demo with us today.
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